THE CHURCH OF S. MARY OF THE MONGOLS
THE church of S. Mary of the Mongols (r&v T&V M.ovyov\ta>v9 rot) Mov^XioCj Moi/^XM0T£crcr&), which stands on the heights above the quarter of Phanar, a short distance to the west of the Greek Communal School, was founded
in the thirteenth century by Maria Palaeologina, a natural daughter of the Emperor Michael Palaeologus (1261-1282). As the church has been in Greek hands ever since its foundation its identity cannot be disputed. The epithet given to the Theotokos in association with this sanctuary alludes to the fact that Maria Palaeologina married a Khan of the Mongols,1 and bore the title of Despoina of the Mongols (&e<nroiva r&v Moi;<yot>7uW).2 The marriage was prompted by no romantic sentiment, but formed part of the policy by which her father hoped to secure the goodwill of the world for the newly restored Empire of Constantinople. While endeavouring to disarm the hostility of Western Europe by promoting the union of the Latin and Greek Churches, he sought to conciliate the people nearer his dominion by matrimonial alliances with their rulers. It was in this way that he courted, with greater or less success, the friendship of Servia, Bulgaria, the Duchy of Thebes, and the Empire of Trebizond. And by the same method he tried to win the friendship of the formidable Mongols settled in Russia and Persia. Accordingly he bestowed the hand of one natural daughter, Euphrosyne, upon Nogaya,3 who had established a Mongolian principality
1 Pachym. i. pp. 174-75. 2 Ibid. ii. pp. 620-37, 3 Ibid. i. p. 231.